by Chrysa Smith

Mark and I just returned from the Hamptons. And no, we’re not wealthy. What we are is lucky enough to have some friends who rent annually and generously extend an invitation to us to come for a visit. So we do.

When I tell people where we went, the response is predictable and funny. Oo-la-la! Oh?  Nice. Yes, it’s all of these things. But doing The Hamptons is worth it at least once. It’s a different style, a different atmosphere than the NJ Shore, which is where we happened to be the weekend before.

In the Hamptons, the carmel corn, boardwalks and carny games are replaced by wineries, bucolic scenery and fine shopping. East Hampton and South Hampton have a fine selection of high-end boutiques; including those exclusives that will close the shop for you and cater to your every need. Some of the area’s wineries have been ranked up there with the California variety. And the restaurant scene is alive and well while the beaches are void of attractions–at least, the non-human type.

No Eagles or Giants jerseys to be seen there. Instead, the uniform of the day for all men is a nice pair of dress or print shorts, with an untucked button-down shirt; preferably the Ralph Lauren variety. Top this with a pair of fine loafers and perhaps a sweater draped over the shoulders. Compliment it with a Rolex and sunglasses just about 10 steps over my Maui Jim’s and voila! It’s weekend casual wear, or at least, so it seems.

For women, forget about it. If there’s an ounce over a size 4, well, you might as well head back to Asbury Avenue, NJ. Because there’s no cellulite, no thick thighs, ankles or faux jewelry. Hair is long and fine and generally younger than middle age. Or at least, so it seems.

Put the couples together and in a Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Jaguar or even Bentley. No mini vans allowed—or at least, so it seems.

I had a very nice time. We ate at a great restaurant–Serafina. We shopped at a wonderful gourmet grocery–Citarella. And I could actually afford a t-shirt at J. Crew (A t-shirt steal at $15). Plus, our friends there couldn’t be more gracious and generous. But truth be told, I was a bit like a fish out of water. It’s funny when you’re out of the circles you usually run in. It’s both fun and uncomfortable. But in the end, I’m just an ordinary girl. A taste of Gatsby was grand, and now I’m back to reality—or at least, so it seems.

If you go, check out the windmills (old-fashioned kind) and the wineries. A list can be found at .